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A method is described for percutaneous localization of the sacral foramina, for neuromodulation of bladder function. We carried out an anatomical study of 5 male and 5 female human cadaver pelves. Using the described surface markings, needles were placed percutaneously into all sacral foramina from nine different angles. Paths of needle entry were studied by subsequent dissection. We observed that although it was possible to enter any sacral foramen at a wide range of insertion angles, the incidence of nerve root/vascular penetration increased with increasing angle of needle entry. Also, the incidence of nerve root penetration was higher with the medial approach compared with lateral entry. The insertion of a needle into the S1 foramen was associated with a higher incidence of nerve root penetration and presents a potential for arterial haemorrhage. On the other hand the smaller S3 and S4 nerve roots were surrounded by venous plexuses, presenting a potential source of venous haemorrhage during procedures. Our study suggests a new method for identifying the surface markings of sacral foramina and it describes the paths of inserted needles into the respective foramina. In addition, it has highlighted some potential risk factors secondary to needle insertion.


Journal article


Eur Urol

Publication Date





90 - 98


Electric Stimulation, Female, Humans, Male, Muscle, Smooth, Needles, Pelvis, Radiography, Sacrococcygeal Region, Spinal Nerve Roots, Urinary Bladder